Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quenched with "Brandy"...stung by hail.

Magnificent Glen Clova, looking towards Glen Doll.
The first fourteen days here in Angus have been incredibly busy. A "window" opened today, however, that served to quench the increasing "thirst" to get out into the Scottish hills. The go-to venue, close to home here, is Glen Clova - a starting point for some of the "biggest bang for your buck (or pound)" hill walks around! It's less than an hour from the trailhead, located next to the Glen Clova Hotel, to Loch Brandy. All the elevation gained after that will take the hill walker as far as there is available time and supplies - pretty much forever into magnificent Cairngorms National Park.

Today, after about fifteen minutes on the hill, the well-known changeable weather was, well, changing. Light rain began to fall and the temperature began to drop.

It was time to add the waterproof layer.

Layers (of clothing), the hill walker's best friend.
Arriving at the loch, the skies were descending and the heavier rain, that had turned to hail-showers, came and went with gusting winds blowing the little pellets sideways - into exposed faces. Ouch! We had planned to take the trail to the left, up the steep slope to the "Snub", and cross the plateau above the loch but conditions were clearly deteriorating. Another hiker had reported that the winds up above had almost blown him over.

The lovely Loch Brandy, still in winter robes.
Plan B was to to take the right hand trail across the loch outflow and get as high up as conditions would permit.

End of March, a winter snow field still greets the walker up here.
The wind really began to blow with the anemometer registering 74 km/h at one point with a wind chill factor of minus 8.7. It was "brisk", but once again, it was the hail (or maybe they were "high performance snow flakes"?) that really stung!

The wind blew consistently from 60 -70 km/h
 Soon, it was impossible to see where we'd come from...

White out...
 ...or where we were going. all directions.
It was time to retrace our steps from winter back to "spring"...and to the waiting MTOPTV (Moderate Terrain Outdoor Pursuits Transport Vehicle).

This new-to-us diesel-powered "transporter" was carefully designed and crafted to simulate the appearance of a civilian model, 2003 Ford Focus TDCi. Small areas of rust and random paint scratches (in stealth mode) have been added to ensure realism. Operationally, it's pretty sweet.

So was the hill walk. :)


  1. Hi D & J, Looks like a proper winter day you had there; great to see you getting out on the hill. Mobile too - that diesel MTOPTV will get you everywhere you need to go (and I'm willing to bet you'll think that the fuel gauge isn't working compared to the HMKTV!)

    See you soon :-)

  2. Hi Ian, yes, it was, indeed, a brief foray into winter and back - very "refreshing"! Had wondered about the possibility of the Ultra-HMOPTV ("Defender" variant) but nothing available in blue. ;) Travel safely. Duncan.

  3. So happy to see you had some time out to go for a hike even though weather conditions somewhat hampered the length of time. Snow and hail at the end of March, somewhat like what is still happening on the eastern seaboard, while we are still enjoying that lovely sunshine. Continue enjoying life. J.

  4. Hi Judith, thanks for that. Yes, we found some snow - but we did have to make an effort. Back here at town level, it's a world covered with daffodils and other flowers beyond my level of recognition. You, however, have the monopoly on the lemons and limes - I can almost taste them! :) Warm wishes. Duncan.

  5. Beautiful shots Duncan!

  6. Hi Lee, thanks for your kind thought. I wish I could take some credit but it was all there, right in front of the "point and shoot". Keeping the lens dry was the only challenge! Warm wishes to you. Duncan.